Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas!

Empire of Storms
Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #5
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Waited on by: Kiersten

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

I absolutely LOVE the Throne of Glass series, so I'm so excited for the release of Empire of Storms next week! I know there was some drama on Twitter about spoilers and some other things, but I've managed to avoid the spoilers (perks of being too busy to go on Twitter), and I'm still really excited about Empire of Storms! I can't wait to see where this story goes in this book! It's sure to be epic and probably heart smashing.

- Kiersten

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Have Been on Your TBR Since Before You Started Blogging

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Here at We Live and Breathe Books, two of us choose five books each week. This weeks topic is...

Books that have been on your TBR since before you started blogging!

Kiersten's Picks

WLABB has been around for 3+ years, so this is going to be a little embarrassing. There are so many books I've wanted to read since before I started blogging, but for this list, I'll be sorting my Goodreads shelf by date added and including the top five!

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern

This is the actual first book that I ever added to a shelf on Goodreads. I'm not sure how I stumbled upon it, but I know that since I got Goodreads, I've always wanted to read it. In the past, Marlon and Noor have both written glowing reviews of The Night Circus, but I still haven't gotten around to it.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children 

I really have no excuse for this one because I own this book. I don't know why I keep putting it off. I'm hoping to have time to read this before the movie comes out, but knowing my school schedule, I won't have time to read the book or see the movie. Hoping for the best!

Looking for Alaska
John Green

I've been really slow at reading John Green books. I'm not much of a contemporary reader, so even though I've heard great things about his books and I've enjoyed the two that I've read, these just don't end up being a reading priority for me.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1

This is another book where I have absolutely no excuse for not reading yet. I've heard this series is really amazing, and I really do want to read it soon! Also, Strange the Dreamer sounds so amazing, so either way, I will definitely read a Laini Taylor book in the next year. I must!

Lesley Livingston
Starling, #1

Honestly, when I saw this on my TBR on Goodreads, I was only vaguely aware of adding it, but I didn't even remember what it was about (which isn't rare for me, but still). I read over the description again before adding it to this list, and it sounds really great. Maybe I'll get around to reading it sometime in this lifetime.

Noor's Picks

I am really bad at procrastinating reading books. I can have a book I want to read so intensely and then just...not read it. For months. Years. My entire life!!!! Like Kiersten mentioned, we've been around over three years so it's probably a little sad that I still haven't gotten around to reading these but it's not for lack of interest!! Just lack of action (like me taking action, not action that happens in the book). I am going to make a vow to finally read the books on this list within the next six months.  

Marie Lu
Legend, #1

Okay, so I'm not a very organized person and so I don't really keep track of my TBR other than noticing a book looks cool and making a mental note to eventually read it (much to the dismay of Kiersten, who thinks we should all utilize our Goodreads as much as possible). If I remember correctly, I made the mental note to read Legend back in high school (around winter 2012-2013) which was definitely before we started blogging. I own both Legend and Prodigy so there's really no excuse and I have no idea why I reach for other books when I could reach for this one and finally read it, but here we are.

Shatter Me
Tahereh Mafi
Shatter Me, #1

I have wanted to read Shatter Me forever. I'm highkey obsessed with Tahereh Mafi as a person -- her Instagram, her other Instagram, her marriage to Ransom Riggs (one of my favorite authors) and I feel totally fake doing so without having read any of her books but I just keep putting it off???? I've heard so many good things about the writing style of this one and I actually think I'm gonna prioritize it to be read sometime soon, especially since her book Furthermore (that Kiersten just reviewed) is coming out next week and if I read that I'll probably just be ~in the zone~ and read this too.

Dan Wells
Partials Sequence, #2

This is one of the most ridiculous ones on this list. So Partials, the first book in the series, came out in 2012 and I read it maybe a month after it came out after seeing it in like the New Releases section of my Nook. And I really really loved it, I thought it was one of the best ~post-apocalyptic dystopian robot fiction~ books I'd ever read (that description makes it sound like A Mess but it really isn't, I highly recommend it). And obviously since I read it so soon after the release, there was no sequel. So I patiently waited and then, when the sequel did come out, I just didn't read it??? I honestly can't tell you why. I own it and everything. And the worst part? The third book came out too, and I still haven't even read the second book!!!!! Why am I like this!!!!!!!

Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles, #2

Okay, so you know how I said Fragments was one of the most ridiculous ones on this list? This is the most ridiculous one on this list. I read Cinder a few months after it was published and totally fell in love with it. I lovelovelove fairytale retellings and I was so enamored with the way this story was told. I made sure to keep this series on my radar so I'd know about sequels. And yet, five more books (and like five million mini-stories) later, guess who has still only read that first one? I am absolutely The Worst. Scarlet is actually one of the books I plan to read relatively soon but I'm so ashamed I didn't read it when it actually came out and keep up with the series.

Kristin Cashore
Graceling Realm, #2

I actually bought Graceling, Cinder, and Partials all at the same time when I went to Boston and we visited a really nice bookstore. I think it was the fact that I was reading all those books I'd bought one after the other that the thought of reading the sequel fell by the wayside. And then I impulsively bought Bitterblue one day because I saw the words "companion novel" on the cover but I realized it was the companion to this book so once I get around to purchasing it I will finally finish this series.

What books have been on your TBR the longest?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: Furthermore - Tahereh Mafi

Tahereh Mafi
Series: N/A
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Dutton Books for the ARC I received at BEA!

The best word to describe Furthermore is whimsical. From the start, the reader is thrown into a fantasy world called Ferenwood. In Ferenwood, color is everything - the more colorful, the more magical. However, poor Alice has no color at all, making her feel inadequate and out of place. On top of that, her mother seems to hate her and her father went missing three years ago. On her twelfth birthday, Oliver, a boy she once went to school with, says something that changes everything: he knows where her father is.

Furthermore follows this beloved duo as they journey into the land of Furthermore, which is far stranger than Ferenwood. In Furthermore, there are no rules - anything is possible - and that makes it so much more dangerous. Furthermore is absolutely not the kind of place you would want to vacation.

I couldn't help but be reminded of The Phantom Tollbooth (one of my favorite books) and Alice in Wonderland while reading Furthermore. There's something about the logic (or lack-there-of) in these three books - the fact that you never know what sort of backwards logic is actually normal in the world - that I absolutely love. I also thoroughly enjoyed the way the story was told. I kind of just imagined sitting on the floor, looking up at Tahereh Mafi reading this book to me with fun voices. It really does read so much like a fairytale, but it's more like a Grimms brothers fairytale than a Disney one.

More thoughts this way!

When it comes to the characters, I really loved the way Mafi built them. They were very far from perfect, and they had to learn how to get past things before they could truly work well together. There are so many themes explored in this book, from friendship and trust, to darker themes like prejudice and abandonment. There's even a bit with Alice's mother having an addiction to berries that make her less sad when father is away.

The plot of this book was so topsy turvy! The ending was a bit abrupt, but I kind of liked it because it was so Furthermore. Sometimes there's a big struggle to get where you're going, but other times you might just end up in the right place at the right time.


Overall, Furthermore was such a fun, whimsical adventure. Even though this is middle grade (which is not a typical genre for me), it's such a fun fantasy that I think anyone can enjoy if they're in the mood for something lighter. Here's to hoping there will be a sequel!

- Kiersten

What's your favorite fantasy world?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Review: The Geography of You and Me - Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and Me
Jennifer E. Smith
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Poppy
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Disclaimer before I talk about this book: I love Jen E. Smith. I think the other books of hers I've read are wonderful and some of my favorites!! However, I think this one just missed the mark.

I picked this up when I was looking for things to bring back for my sister from the library (because my mom thinks she doesn't read enough) and when I read the premise I actually thought it sounded kinda like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (which I loved) which seemed a little suspicious, but they're pretty different stories other than the whole ~interesting meet-cute and parting of ways~ thing.

Anyway, I was totally expecting to love this book but I just couldn't seem to enjoy it. The story focuses on Lucy and Owen -- two teens who live in the same NYC apartment building but have never met and get stuck in the elevator together during a citywide blackout. Even though they bond through the night, they're pulled apart when Lucy moves to Edinburgh and Owen travels across the country with his dad.

The book's biggest positive was the writing itself. Jennifer E. Smith is definitely skilled and even if I had issues with the story, I can't deny that she wrote beautifully. One of my favorite parts is when she describes the way Owen feels about his life by comparing him to a fish that has "the capacity to grow in unimaginable ways if only the tank were big enough." She uses the phrase "he'd always felt himself bumping up against the edges of his own life" which I really liked and feel like a lot of people can relate to. There were a few other gems and notable snippets and I think they really significantly added to the reading experience. If this story was told by an author with less flair for language, I'm sure it'd have a much lower rating.

Even though I appreciated JES's writing, I wasn't that into the story. I'm always here for cutesy cheesy love stories with no other plot than the Happily Ever After but I really feel like nothing happened in this book. It was all fluff. And I am not anti-fluff!! I love fluff!!! But sometimes fluff just doesn't work, especially when it is trying so hard to not be fluff. I think fluff should own up to it and accept itself for what it is. Anyway, I just kept waiting for plot progression but it was so minimal.

Also, I thought Lucy was a kinda boring main character. She had no friends in New York and the ones in Edinburgh I wasn't that invested in, no stand-out personality traits, and even when I felt a little bad for her because I thought her parents left her behind on their vacations for funsies, I stopped feeling bad when I realized she had never actually bothered talking to them about wanting to go. Owen was a little bit better. His problems were a little less frivolous but he could be irksome too. I liked him as a whole though, although one thing that still bothers me about his character is that, when his dad and him decide to take off on a cross-country road trip in the beginning of the school year, he's like ~oh yeah I have enough credits to graduate it's chill~ but if he had enough credits at that point before his first semester was over he should have had them at the end of his junior year and should have already applied to schools!!!!!!!! I know it's nitpicking but it's always gonna bother me.

Anyway, the whole idea of the story is cute and I love the fact that they send each other postcards and that there's a turtle named Bartleby and that Owen likes stars but overall I was underwhelmed and got bored pretty quickly and anxious to finish. It was a quick read so it didn't take up too much of my time or anything but it's been a few weeks and I've already forgotten half of the details so that about sums it up.

- Noor

What's the weirdest place you've met someone?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Furthermore - Tahereh Mafi

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi!

Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Waited on by: Noor

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn't miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it's been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she's about to embark on one to find the other. 

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she'll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit--and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself--and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

You might have seen Kiersten's last Stuffed Animal Saturday talking about this book and I'm sorry to be repetitive but I am just so. freaking. excited for it. This may or may not be a good time to admit I actually haven't read Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me series yet (I think I own them though??? maybe). I of course do plan on reading them in the near future but after God knows how long of stalking her Instagram and obsessing over her existence as a person, I feel like this is the perfect book to start off my Tahereh Mafi reading journey with -- it's only one book so it's not daunting and it has the perfect premise. There's only like two weeks left until it comes out and I am counting down every last second.

- Noor

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!